We have always really enjoyed meeting our friends for lunch at it's sister hotel (Lime Wood) and were looking really forward to trying out the Restaurant at The Pig which is close by.
The hotel is another large country house in the New Forest decked out in Farrow and Ball muted colours which are normally lovely, but this time the choice of colour makes the house look rather dismal. The furnishings and furniture are to quote the publicity "shabby chic" - which roughly translated means sad and rather worn out and the chairs in the room we sat in for drinks were distinctly uncomfortable. I sat in a leather chair which should have had a heath and safety notice on it as I sank so low to the floor I found it almost impossible to get up again. I do 'get' shabby chic, but to my mind this takes it to a new level. The rooms are beautifully proportioned and the conservatory room that we had lunch in was rather lovely.
We sat at a round wooden table that had an assortment of chairs surrounding it which was fine, but the table itself had a rather sticky feel to it. The napkins were absolutely perfect. The glassware was the sort most of us had as students or scrounged from our parents when setting up our first home and the flatware was not nice to use at all. My fork tines were blunt and the fork and the desert spoons had a metallic smell when using them.
We had some Piggy Nibbles with our pre lunch drinks and they were delicious. The tiny Scotch eggs (quail eggs) were very tasty and the pork crackling with apple sauce was perfect.
Three of us chose Portland crab with three times cooked rustic chips and some mixed leaves, the fourth chose a pork chop with mash and greens. It was interesting to observe that none of us asked the other how they were enjoying their food. I expected my £20 crab to be rather more interesting than just a freshly unwrapped crab shell containing a not too generous helping of brown and the minimum amount of white crab meat - no decoration whatsoever. The leaves were very nice but the chips were well and truly overcooked and not at all appetising. The presentation was very basic. My friend's chop was a medium size chop and nothing special to look at. For desert we all chose the trifle which was pleasant however trying to tease it out from a conical shaped glass with a desert spoon was virtually impossible. We were eventually given teaspoons after asking for them. Once again the spoons were smelly base metal, lacking the 'epns' advertised on the back of the spoon. Although the stained teaspoons were silver, they hadn't seen silver polish for a long while. We adjourned to the lounge for coffee where sadly I had to return my cup and saucer as it was quite revolting; the cup had a dried coffee ring around the inside where it had not even been washed up after the last guest.
The service was rather hit and miss, with a series of very pleasant young people looking after us but there seemed to be a lack of routine in all areas.
To sum up, I loved the house and gardens but felt that the creature comforts in the restaurant and sitting rooms were poor. The ambience was more like a bistro for young people (and there were plenty of them enjoying it). More than anything I was disappointed to find that the meal wasn't memorable for the right reasons. I had hoped that for the price we paid (approx £40 per head) the food would be better than I can cook at home - and it wasn't, it was rather ordinary.
I know that there are at least two more Pig restaurant opening shortly in the South West and I sincerely hope that they do well. Young people will love them I'm sure, but if you are used to a certain standard of napery, china and flatware......be prepared.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.